Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Phylogenetic and phenotypic divergence of an insular radiation of birds
Author: Black, Richard Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 8321
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2010
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Evolutionary divergence of lineages is one of the key mechanisms underpinning large scale patterns in biogeography and biodiversity. Island systems have been highly influential in shaping theories of evolutionary diversification and here I use the insular Zosteropidae of the south west Pacific to investigate the roles of ecology and biogeography in promoting evolutionary divergence. Initially I build a phylogenetic tree of the study group and use it to reveal the pattern of colonisation and diversification. My results suggest a complex history of dispersal with the observed pattern most likely a result of repeated bouts of colonisation and extinction. I then use the new phylogeny to quantify the diversification rates of the Zosteropidae. I find a very high rate of lineage divergence and suggest the most likely explanation relates to extensive niche availability in the south west Pacific. I also find evidence for an overall slowdown in diversification combined with repeated bursts of accelerated speciation, consistent with a model of taxon cycles. I do not find evidence for sympatric speciation, however. Finally I combine morphological and phylogenetic data to investigate the mode of evolution, evidence for character displacement and influence of biogeography on trait evolution. I find little support for the traditional theory of character displacement in sympatric species. I do, however, find some support for biogeographic theories. Taken together my results do not support traditional theories on the ecological and biogeographical basis of divergence, even in those cases where Zosterops have been used as exemplars. This appears to be because those theories assume rather simple patterns of colonisation and a static ecological system. Instead, my results suggest that evolutionary diversification is dominated by recurrent waves of colonisation and extinction, which, viewed at any particular moment, tend to obscure any underlying ecological rules.
Supervisor: Owens, Ian ; Clegg, Sonya Sponsor: Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) ; Sheffield Molecular Genetics Facility
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral